meticulous

adjective
me·​tic·​u·​lous | \ mə-ˈti-kyə-ləs How to pronounce meticulous (audio) \

Definition of meticulous

: marked by extreme or excessive care in the consideration or treatment of details a meticulous researcher

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Other Words from meticulous

meticulosity \ mə-​ˌti-​kyə-​ˈlä-​sə-​tē How to pronounce meticulosity (audio) \ noun
meticulously \ mə-​ˈti-​kyə-​ləs-​lē How to pronounce meticulously (audio) \ adverb
meticulousness \ mə-​ˈti-​kyə-​ləs-​nəs How to pronounce meticulousness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for meticulous

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for meticulous

careful, meticulous, scrupulous, punctilious mean showing close attention to detail. careful implies attentiveness and cautiousness in avoiding mistakes. a careful worker meticulous may imply either commendable extreme carefulness or a hampering finicky caution over small points. meticulous scholarship scrupulous applies to what is proper or fitting or ethical. scrupulous honesty punctilious implies minute, even excessive attention to fine points. punctilious observance of ritual

Meticulous Has Fearful Roots

It may surprise you to learn that meticulous is derived from the Latin word for "fearful" - meticulosus - and ultimately comes from the Latin noun metus, meaning "fear." Although meticulous currently has no "fearful" meanings, it was originally used as a synonym of frightened and timid. This sense had fallen into disuse by 1700, and in the 19th century meticulous acquired a new sense of "overly and timidly careful" (probably influenced by the French word méticuleux). This in turn led to the current meaning of "painstakingly careful," with no connotations of fear at all. The newest use was controversial among some usage commentators at first, but it has since become by far the most common meaning and is no longer considered an error.

Examples of meticulous in a Sentence

Always meticulous about his appearance in the past, he had become dirty and unkempt, with straggly hair, stained clothes, and patches of silver stubble on his chin. — Minette Walters, Fox Evil, 2002 She was very much the craftswoman, all her work meticulous, slow, perfect. — Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman, 1998 In dense, meticulous arguments … Brooten mounts an assault on that view. — Cullen Murphy, Atlantic, August 1993 He described the scene in meticulous detail. He is meticulous about keeping accurate records.
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Recent Examples on the Web The Clean Air Act dictates a meticulous process for considering a new standard; each review usually takes at least five years, Goldman said. Gordon Russell, NOLA.com, "EPA refuses to reduce particulate pollution, linked by scientists to coronavirus deaths," 21 Oct. 2020 Her acting work is meticulous and disciplined without shouting about the effort that goes into making it so, and her approach to directing is similar. Soraya Nadia Mcdonald, Glamour, "Regina King—Long May She Reign," 13 Oct. 2020 Fewer and fewer speakers are as meticulous about the subjunctive as Beyoncé. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, "Slipping into a subjunctive mood," 1 Oct. 2020 Cohen is aloof at times, while Cooper is meticulous about everything. Christy Piña, Woman's Day, "The History of Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper's Friendship Will Make You Love Them Even More," 27 Sep. 2020 The position requires meticulous preparation and exacts relentless bodily punishment. Ron Kroichick, SFChronicle.com, "A’s shun script, rely on rookie catchers Murphy and Heim heading into playoffs," 28 Sep. 2020 As my colleague Dan McLaughlin points out in meticulous historical detail, every real norm points to the Republicans’ filling the vacancy. David Harsanyi, National Review, "There Is No Reason Why Republicans Shouldn’t Fill the SCOTUS Vacancy," 19 Sep. 2020 With her adorable, young daughter in tow, she's made meticulous plans to give herself the best chance at success, but label executives brush her off. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "I Am Woman Is a Beautiful, Authentic Story About Fame, Love, and Motherhood," 11 Sep. 2020 After all, Apple keeps meticulous records of its customers and likely knows very well who purchased the devices with faulty batteries. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Apple pledged $25 to iPhone users over battery problems. Why is it so hard to collect?," 1 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'meticulous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of meticulous

1827, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for meticulous

earlier, "fearful," borrowed from Latin metīculōsus, metūculōsus "timid, apprehensive," from metū-, stem of metus "fear, dread" (of uncertain origin) + -culōsus (in perīculōsus "involving danger, perilous")

Note: The senses "overscrupulous," then "careful, scrupulous" may depend on French méticuleux, for which these meanings are attested somewhat earlier than in English.

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Time Traveler for meticulous

Time Traveler

The first known use of meticulous was in 1827

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Last Updated

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Meticulous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meticulous. Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for meticulous

meticulous

adjective
How to pronounce meticulous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of meticulous

: very careful about doing something in an extremely accurate and exact way

meticulous

adjective
me·​tic·​u·​lous | \ mə-ˈtik-yə-ləs How to pronounce meticulous (audio) \

Kids Definition of meticulous

: showing extreme or excessive care in thinking about or dealing with small details a meticulous description

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